Twin babies and a viral hit
Interview with mummy blogger Heather on capturing Happy Baby Moments
As a mother to a little boy, mummy blogger Heather Tomoyasu was certainly used to the little surprises that family life holds in store. But there are two things she and her husband did not expect: becoming twin parents and landing a viral hit on Facebook. When the couple found out they were having twins they decided to shoot a stop motion video to document the pregnancy progression and capture this special journey for family and friends. They soon found out that it struck a nerve and that millions watched their video on Facebook. We’ve asked Heather to tell us about the unexpected success of her video project, her pregnancy essentials and capturing Happy Baby Moments.
1) When did you first realize you wanted to have children?
I always knew I wanted children, I felt like my life wouldn’t be complete without them. While out celebrating my 30th birthday, my husband and I mutually decided this was the right time for us and we got right to it.
2) Did you have a specific vision in your head of what kind of mother you would be? How does this imagination differ from reality?
I actually thought I’d go back to work after maternity leave and would be a working mom with a 9-5 job and send my children to day care. But as soon as they put my first baby to my chest, I knew I couldn’t leave him. Thus I began my 4 years and counting stint as a stay at home mum, balancing 3 kids and multiple freelance work-from-home endeavors.
3) How did you find out about your pregnancies and what kind of emotions did you feel?
Both pregnancies were planned and realized through the typical morning sickness and positive pregnancy test. I was overjoyed with our first, though nervous at each checkup before hearing the heart beat and that all was OK. However when the ultrasound at 7 weeks into my second pregnancy revealed very very unexpected twins, I was hit with incredibly mixed emotions: I felt terrified, ecstatic, and overwhelmed all at once.
4) How did you come up with the idea to shoot a video of your growing baby bump?
After already having my first child, I saw (and become obsessed with) a few stop motion pregnancy videos on YouTube. I thought they were such a cute way to capture your changing body throughout the pregnancy, and thought it’d be really special to do with my son and have forever to look back on. So, we started shooting as soon as I got my positive pregnancy test, knowing that it could turn out to be a false pregnancy or miscarriage (you always have that risk in your head). Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it’d be twins, but it made the video even more special. To this day I’ve never seen another twin belly stop motion video featuring an older sibling.
5) Did you foresee the success of the video and how did your family react to it?
I posted a preview version of the video to friends and family on Facebook after filming our gender reveal, so basically weeks 4-20 or so, and everyone was flipping out over how great it was, which really motivated me to keep going. It wasn’t easy – each week I had to drag our kitchen table out of the way and set up the camera on top of my son’s high chair, and get him changed into his special “picture only undies” - because everything had to be set up in exactly the same way in all of the photos. I updated the video each week so it wouldn’t be a huge ordeal after the babies were born, I just had to pop in the “welcome home” shots and upload! The response on my YouTube channel was marginal, because my channel is tiny, but it jumped by a few thousand views when @itsjudytime tweeted it out, and soon thereafter it was posted by HNL and got millions of views on Facebook. I couldn’t believe it. For months and months friends kept messaging me and tagging me when various huge brands were sharing it on their walls. It was really cool!
6) Did you want to know the gender of your children or did you want it to be a surprise?
We didn’t find out the sex of our first baby and that was fun to be surprised with at birth. But, when we found out the second pregnancy was twins, we decided that was surprise enough and we couldn’t wait to find out the sexes! They weren’t able to tell in the scans until 17 weeks along, and I didn’t really believe them until the next two scans reconfirmed “girls”. I was so nervous that they would get it wrong. My son was with me when we found out, so we bought some pink balloons on the way home and filmed our “gender reveal” to daddy, of course.
7) What has changed in your life since you have had children?
Oh wow, everything! Through wanting to stay home with my kids but also wanting to contribute financially to our family income, I’ve ventured into the really fun and creative world of blogging, vlogging, and social media. We bought a tiny home in Brooklyn but for the first time in my life I’m starting to consider buying a car and moving to the suburbs. I never thought I wanted that kind of life, but having a bedroom for each kid and a backyard they can play in sounds amazing right about now.
8) What are the top essentials you need whilst planning for a pregnancy?
For me, essentials were getting on prenatal vitamins (with folic acid and iron) before starting to “try”. Also a good thermometer to keep track of your daily morning basal body temperature (so you can use it to judge when you ovulate and implant), and ovulation prediction sticks.
9) What are the essentials you need whilst pregnant?
A good prenatal vitamin (with folic acid and iron), staying active, several protein bars or other protein-rich snacks in your bag. If I let myself get even close to hungry I got extremely nauseous, so I had to eat something every 1-2 hours.
10) Your top to-dos for future parents to be?
Read a book about pregnancy and take a child birth class, but also be sure to read up and prepare for life with a newborn. I somehow forgot about this when pregnant with my first. I was SO prepared for the birth, but had NO CLUE what to do after they put him in my arms. Diapers, breastfeeding, etc. – totally clueless! But no matter how prepared you think you are, you’ll always feel clueless. The learning curve is steep and just when you think you figured it out, the baby changes the game and you start from scratch. Parenthood is one crazy exciting frustrating terrifying joyous amazing journey!